Peto's Paradox: How has evolution solved the problem of cancer prevention?

Marc Tollis, Amy M. Boddy, Carlo C. Maley

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The risk of developing cancer should theoretically increase with both the number of cells and the lifespan of an organism. However, gigantic animals do not get more cancer than humans, suggesting that super-human cancer suppression has evolved numerous times across the tree of life. This is the essence and promise of Peto's Paradox. We discuss what is known about Peto's Paradox and provide hints of what is yet to be discovered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number60
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 13 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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